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'Top Chef' Judge Tom Colicchio Saves Award Winning Cookbook Author's Life

'Top Chef' judge Tom Colicchio must be glad he wasn't busy celebrating Barack Obama's inauguration, like most other celebrities, after he found himself in the right place at just the right time this week.

You see the reality-show judge and restaurateur was attending the 'Art. Food. Hope' benefit, which featured attendees like Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Rachel Maddow, when things took a scary turn.

'Food Association' writer Ezra Klein, who was at the event, reports Tom Colicchio was pinned against the banister deflecting fans upset over last week's elimination when chef Alice Waters came running into the dining room in a panic shouting, 'Does anyone know the Heimlich maneuver?'

Apparently cookbook author Joan Nathan was struggling with a chunk of chicken went down her wind pipe. That's when Colicchio sprang into action, ran to the aid of Nathan, and performed the life-saving maneuver on Nathan.

Colicchio tried to play down any accolades for the deed: "I just happened to be nearby," he shrugged. "I did what anyone else would have done and was just happy to be there."

"So not only can Colicchio run multiple restaurants and anchor a cooking show and win five James Beard awards and cook for the rescue workers after 9/11, but he can save your life," says an obviously impressed Klein.

January 21, 2009 |

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